Training, Open Source Computer Languages

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For 2023 - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
What are NIS, LDAP, DNS and BIND


When you're logging in to your computer, you need to access your account details, and as you run programs you need to identify other resources such as host computers on your network and further afield.

These resources are made available to you through NAME SERVICES.

For a stand-alone system, you would use a built-in name service which simply accessed the data you wanted in plain text files. However, stand-alone systems are rare indeed these days, and you'll probably use several services


Local files are still useful for basic data such as the administrator's (root) login, which should be defined locally; ideally, you should have a separate root password for each system, and you'll certainly need such an account for occasional and emergency access to the system if the network has failed. Similarly, the host's own name and IP address will be stored locally so that it knows its own name and how to connect to networks.


Originated by Sun Microsystems, the Network Information Service provides for the provision of a master and slave servers to provide information on a wide range of databases such as hosts, users, service, email aliases, etc ... and you can add your own databases too if you wish.

Known in its very early days as "yellow pages" - that's why all the file names start with "yp" - NIS provided an excellent tool for administering the various databases centrally. However, it did not provide a distributed administration capability, and this and other issues lead Sun to introduce a new service called NIS+ or nisplus. NIS+ didn't really catch on though.


LDAP organises data into a hierarchy, allowing it to be administered based on company, branch, department or any other method you choose. Like with NIS, you can provide and serve a wide variety of data through LDAP, and it has become something of a standard with medium sized and larger organisations.

As well as the OpenLDAP server that's distributed with Linux, commercial vendors such as Novell and Microsoft are using the LDAP protocols within their Active Directory and eDirectory products.

Although LDAP can be set up and operated from command line tools via text files (a method we can teach you), you'll find more practically that it's used with graphic tools and editors such as


The Domain Name Service - DNS - (or BIND - the Berkeley INternet Domain) is used to resolve a narrow range of services on a wider (usually worldwide) basis, based on your fully qualified domain name; typically, the two services provided are for host name resolution and mail forwarders - i.e. where to send emails for a domain.


Once you've got any appropriate name servers running (see separate training modules), you need to tell each individual user system where it's to look for which service.

The main control file is /etc/nsswitch.conf in which you list which service(s) are to be used for which type of lookup. Here's a sample nsswitch.conf file:

# /etc/nsswitch.conf
# An example Name Service Switch config file. This file should be
# sorted with the most-used services at the beginning.
# The entry '[NOTFOUND=return]' means that the search for an
# entry should stop if the search in the previous entry turned
# up nothing. Note that if the search failed due to some other reason
# (like no NIS server responding) then the search continues with the
# next entry.
# Legal entries are:
# compat Use compatibility setup
# nisplus Use NIS+ (NIS version 3)
# nis Use NIS (NIS version 2), also called YP
# dns Use DNS (Domain Name Service)
# files Use the local files
# [NOTFOUND=return] Stop searching if not found so far
# For more information, please read the nsswitch.conf.5 manual page.

# passwd: files nis
# shadow: files nis
# group: files nis

passwd: compat
group: compat

hosts: files dns
networks: files dns

services: files
protocols: files
rpc: files
ethers: files
netmasks: files
netgroup: files
publickey: files

bootparams: files
automount: files nis
aliases: files

Beyond the nsswitch.conf files, there may be a few other settings to make in relation to individual services; since one server will typically look after numerous clients, configuration at the client is kept to a minimum with server side configuration being the more complex.

See also Naming Services overview

Please note that articles in this section of our web site were current and correct to the best of our ability when published, but by the nature of our business may go out of date quite quickly. The quoting of a price, contract term or any other information in this area of our website is NOT an offer to supply now on those terms - please check back via our main web site

Related Material

Web Application Deployment - Name Services - overview
  [686] - ()
  [690] - ()

Web Application Deployment - LDAP / OpenLDAP server
  [686] - ()

Web Application Deployment - DNS
  [686] - ()
  [690] - ()
  [2537] - ()
  [4491] - ()

Web Application Deployment - Networking - General
  [768] - ()
  [2149] - ()
  [2150] - ()
  [2695] - ()

resource index - Deployment
Solutions centre home page

You'll find shorter technical items at The Horse's Mouth and delegate's questions answered at the Opentalk forum.

At Well House Consultants, we provide training courses on subjects such as Ruby, Lua, Perl, Python, Linux, C, C++, Tcl/Tk, Tomcat, PHP and MySQL. We're asked (and answer) many questions, and answers to those which are of general interest are published in this area of our site.

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